Psychosocial interventions delivered by nonspecialists can be effective at reducing common adolescent mental health problems in low-resource settings. However, there is a lack of evidence on resource-efficient methods for building capacity to deliver these interventions.
The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of a digital training (DT) course, delivered in a self-guided format or with coaching, on nonspecialists’ competency to deliver a problem-solving intervention intended for adolescents with common mental health problems in India.
We will conduct a pre-post study with a nested parallel, 2-arm, individually randomized controlled trial. The study aims to recruit 262 participants, randomized 1:1 to receive either a self-guided DT course or a DT course with weekly individualized coaching provided remotely by telephone. In both arms, the DT will be accessed over 4 to 6 weeks. Participants will be nonspecialists (ie, without prior practice-based training in psychological therapies) recruited from among university students and affiliates of nongovernmental organizations in Delhi and Mumbai, India.
Outcomes will be assessed at baseline and 6 weeks post randomization using a knowledge-based competency measure that incorporates a multiple-choice quiz format. The primary hypothesis is that self-guided DT will lead to increased competency scores among novices with no prior experience of delivering psychotherapies. The secondary hypothesis is that digital training with coaching will have an incremental effect on competency scores compared with DT alone. The first participant was enrolled on April 4, 2022.
The study will address an evidence gap on the effectiveness of training methods for nonspecialist providers of adolescent mental health interventions in low-resource settings. The findings from this study will be used to support wider efforts to scale up evidence-based mental health interventions for young people.